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Layering in Provenance Systems

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Executive Summary

Digital provenance describes the ancestry or history of a digital object. Most existing provenance systems, however, operate at only one level of abstraction: the system call layer, a workflow specification, or the high-level constructs of a particular application. The provenance collectable in each of these layers is different, and all of it can be important. Single-layer systems fail to account for the different levels of abstraction at which users need to reason about their data and processes. These systems cannot integrate data provenance across layers and cannot answer questions that require an integrated view of the provenance.

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